note: I can only update this as a sturdy wifi connection allows. So the next week’s posts may be up a bit late. Pictures too!
Friday 30 Mar : The vacation starts today, and the family visit starts today. But first, I have a mostly-full day at work before taking the train to Budapest. My parents and brother left Los Angeles at 1 AM (Hungary time) and after a connection in Paris, were to arrive at in Budapest around 3 PM. But Air France schedules very tight connections. After arriving in Paris, being required to leave one terminal to go to the other, clear immigration and customs, then go through security again, they (and many others) missed their connection. I got a phone call…and after communicating with them via phone and texts for about an hour, I ultimately learned they were book on a flight to Amsterdam and from there, a KLM flight to Budapest. New arrival time: 10:45 PM. At least they got food vouchers…and they were offered a hotel room if they wanted to wait until tomorrow.
We took the 5:03 train to Budapest and now we would arrive before they did and get settled in the apartment. As we left our place, Kellie pointed out my watch was somehow set five minutes slow and I quickly decided to sprint down to the train station with all of my luggage in case there was a line at the ticket booth. I got there in 12 minutes instead of 20. As we waited on the platform the trains we saw didn’t match up with the schedule. Kellie noticed one of her co-teachers (English-speaking) also waiting for the same train so we began chatting and wondering why was going on. We were about three minutes from schedule departure time and he noticed our train on a different train on the other side of the platform. It would have been really inconvenient if he hadn’t noticed that. As we rushed over and got on the train, one of my 12th grade students saw me, and invited us to sit by her. It turned the train ride into a very enjoyable three hours rather than a slow three hours. It’s actually really fortunate we saw them, because there was an important sign, along with announcements, saying that the train schedule will be affected for repairs starting in two weeks. We can now take the precautions that will be necessary so that my family isn’t completely lost getting back to Budapest. In fact, I will probably take an extra day off to make sure they get back to Budapest safely.
I had hired a private driver, via Tripadvisor recommendations, to pick up my family at the airport, and I was able to keep him updated of the situation. He was gracious enough to be at the airport in the late evening, even after the changed plans. He dropped everyone off at our hotel and while I was waiting for my dad to call me, they made it up to our room on the 4th floor. Lots of hugs and smiles ensued. Our lodging is a 3-bedroom apartment at a Panzio in the Corvin Quarter. It is downtown, but just enough on the edge to be very, very affordable. This evening, my mom showed us all of the stuff (candy, gifts for students, things we asked her to bring) with which she filled a whole duffel bag, I took Steven and my dad to the river edge a few minutes away, and we stopped by a gyros place to get all of them a late meal. Kellie and I had eaten at the nearby Mexican place before everyone arrived. It was actually really good! Tomorrow I have a busy day planned but I think we will probably let them catch up on sleep and start our day whenenver it happens. Whatever we don’t see tomorrow can be seen when we pass through on April 9th or at the end of the trip.